The New Putin Doctrine
Published: April 3, 2014 (Issue # 1804)
The annexation of Crimea highlights not only a sharp change in Russian foreign policy, but also the emergence of a new Putin Doctrine. President Vladimir Putin's successful Crimean land grab might signal the start of a broader trend in which Moscow will annex other regions.
In his historic speech in the Kremlin on March 18, Putin formulated the seven main points of his new doctrine.
Also by this author: Putin’s Distorted History
1. Russia no longer views the West as a credible partner. He believes that the West dismissed his legitimate complaints against U.S. unilateralism and double standards that he articulated in his 2007 Munich speech. Despite claims that the Cold War has ended, the West continues to pursue a Cold War-like containment policy against Russia, Putin says.
In reality, the West's policy has been to lie to Russia, make decisions behind its back and to try to weaken the country's influence on the global arena. "Russia feels that it has been not just robbed, but plundered," Putin said in his March 18 speech. From now on, Russia will be forced to base its actions on this harsh reality.
Also by this author: Russia's March Toward Ruin
2. Russia no longer considers itself part of European — much less Euro-Atlantic — civilization. Russia is a democracy, but of a special type. The country has rejected communist and "pseudo-democratic" dogmas. If more than 90 percent of Russians support the annexation of Crimea, it means the move had a strong backing and legitimacy based on the fundamental democratic principal of vox populi.
At the same time, however, Russia does not believe in the universal value of Western-style democracy and human rights, although it will remain — at least for time being — a member of the Council of Europe.
3. International law is no longer a system of rules or set of reference points. Putin argues that international law has been reduced to a menu of options from which every powerful state is free to choose whatever suits its interests. To put down the uprising in Chechnya, for example, Moscow cited the international principle of upholding territorial integrity. But in annexing Crimea, it cited the fundamental right to self-determination.
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